About 90% of the time, the official Greeter is in the middle of a conversation with a fellow Blue-shirter. (Sometimes yellow...but it still doesn't matter.) Immediately after he asks how I'm doing, he turns away from me and continues his conversation, which I know must be about National Security or something equally important for him to so quickly ignore me, while trying his best to show an interest in my personal life.
So exactly how am I doing? Let's see; I've just been asked a question and then promptly ignored. I guess I feel like the victim of a cheap marketing gimmick.
Nevertheless, I continue my journey into the store. This particular day I was searching for a personal MP3 player. Once I found where the MP3 players were located, I immediately went into "shopping" mode. I examined several units, carefully reading the technical specs, warranty information, price, and mentally evaluating each device for overall good looks. When I made my decision, I phased out of "shopping" mode and went into "end-of-transaction" mode. Because most humans can't read minds, I signified my transition by going to the front of the store and standing in line for the next available Cashier. No one in his or her right mind would think that I was still "shopping".
As the Cashier was scanning my item however, she obviously didn't understand that I was out of "shopping" mode, because she proceeded to sell me an extended warranty for my MP3 player. After politely saying "No thanks..." a few times, another Blue-shirter (sometimes yellow) casually strolls up to the register and jumps into a story of how her boyfriend bought the exact same item...broke it...and then saved a ton of money because he was smart enough to buy the extended warranty.
I quickly sense that she's lying. There is no boyfriend...there is no MP3 player...nothing was broken...nothing was promptly replaced...nobody lived happily ever after. (Side note: nobody ever does, but that's another topic for another day.) It's all a lie to sell me the extended warranty. Upon quick reflection, I realize that it's her job to hang around the registers with this `story', patiently waiting for unsuspecting victims.
Now if there's one thing I know, it's bullshit. This was bullshit. Not the `pure and simple' bullshit, but the really smelly kind because it involved money...my money. I didn't walk into Best Buy...I walked into Best Lie.
"What would happen if I don't get the extended warranty, went home and found out that the device didn't work?" I asked. "Are you saying you guys wouldn't replace it, or give me my money back?"
Both Cashier and Liar quickly looked at each other and mentioned something about a hassle-free, no-questions-asked return.
"I have to pay you money so you won't hassle me if I return a defective item?"
Liar begins to slowly retreat back to her assigned post while Cashier explains that all products come with a "limited" warranty and the "extended" warranty would continue to take care of me.
I pick up the MP3 player. "Do you know how long the warranty is on this product?"
"Well then how do you know the extended warranty lasts longer?"
She doesn't. But she's absolutely positive that I need it.
Once she realizes that I'm not going to bite, she further complicates things by trying to get me interested in a magazine subscription. Here I am trying to give them money and Best Lie is doing a great job of making things difficult. I want to say, `How about I pay you extra money for a hassle-free checkout?' but my wife has been on my case lately about my supposedly sarcastic comments. (I could hardly wait to get home and explain how I've changed.)
After declining the warranty for a third time and the magazine subscription twice, Cashier raises her eyebrows, slowly shakes her head and with a resigning, somewhat overly dramatic sigh she says, "Well...okay."
After the Gestapo-like interrogation, I felt like I had just been handed back my passport, having barely made it through another checkpoint. I still had to get past the Greeter, but at least I was on my way. A future memory quietly slips into my mind: I'm sitting around a warm fireplace, finishing up this story to my grandchildren. "...THANK GOD Cashier decided that it was `...okay.' " I would exclaim, denoting the end of this twisted tale that I had undoubtedly told too many times in the past. To add a higher level of emphasis, I would search out the youngest child and give him or her a deliberate nod. There would be no need to explain what might have happened that day, had fate lead me down a different path.
As I was leaving the store, the Greeter mumbles, "Byehaveaniceday."
As when I entered the store, I ignored him.